Steven Millhauser is an American Pulitzer Prize-winning fiction author known for his erudite, witty and surreal writing style that blends the magical and the real. Enjoy the full text of Eisenheim The Illusionist (pdf, 20 pages), the story that inspired the 2006 film The Illusionist. [more inside]
Pratchett's Women: nine essays (by Australian fantasy author Tansy Rayner Roberts) on the portrayal of women in the Discworld books [more inside]
You have demons in your subconscious? In a fantasy world those demons can get out, where you can grapple with them face to face. The story I was telling was impossible, and I believed in it more than I believed in the 10,000 entirely reasonable, plausible things I’d written before. Lev Grossman, author of the Magicians series of books, on how he found his voice as a fantasy novelist.
Black Girls Hunger for Heroes, Too: A Black Feminist Conversation on Fantasy Fiction for Teens.
What happens when two great black women fiction writers get together to talk about race in young adult literature? That's exactly what happens in the conversation below, where Zetta Elliott, a black feminist writer of poetry, plays, essays, novels, and stories for children, and award-winning Haitian-American speculative fiction writer Ibi Aanu Zoboi decided to discuss current young adult sci-fi.
Who is Jon Snow's mother? What's up with the crazy seasons in Westeros? Why have the White Walkers returned after all this time? These questions and more have been the subject of much speculation and debate among fans of George R.R. Martin's Game of Thrones / A Song of Ice and Fire / Dunk and Egg universe for more than a decade. Fans have published their theories in forums, on fansites, and even as the occasional academic journal article. (Spoiler warning: All sources -- show, books, cut scenes, DVD special features, pre-released chapters, interviews, visions you got from a tree, etc. -- are fair game in this thread!) [more inside]
Bored with basketball but want some Tournament action in your March-to-Early April? MentalFloss.com has collected* a list of (More Than) 11 OTHER March Madness Tournaments, covering books, music, TV, webcomics, various flavors of sci-fi and fantasy, plus bunny slippers, hot dog toppings, the (previously here) WORST Company in America and MORE! [more inside]
To define the world of The Hobbit is, of course, impossible, because it is new. - C.S. Lewis reviews The Hobbit. Why Smaug Sill Matters. Tolkien, Alignment, Non-Violence, and Why Hobbits are Required for Middle-earth to Survive. "‘Smaug’ is about almost absolutely nothing". Scientist maps climate of Lord of the Rings.
"When I read Spell as a kid, I related to Bink. It never struck me as weird that he was a dozen years older than me, but wasn’t any more mature. Now the prospect of relating to Bink, at any age, seems insane. It doesn’t have anything to do with his whining. It has to do with the way he views Spells’ female characters: as obstacles, props, and objects of lust and condescension."
Revisiting the sad, misogynistic fantasy of Xanth
Revisiting the sad, misogynistic fantasy of Xanth
"I think the answer is 100 per cent of people cheated! That's what everyone tells us. Do we mind? No." A history of Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone's Fighting Fantasy game books.
Is Science Fiction promoting pseuodoscience? Is it not really better than fantasy? Is it exhausted and dying, per Paul Kincaid (part 1, part 2), a sort of genre-writing version of completing a list of The Nine Billion Names of God? Does physics-bothering unrepentant space case Alistair Reynolds have a compass pointing the way forwards?
What I wrote was unquestionably fiction — was fantasy. Among Others has magic and fairies. But I was writing fantasy about a science fiction reader who had a lot of the same things happen to her that happened to me. It’s set at the end of 1979 and the beginning of 1980, and it’s about a fifteen year old just when I was fifteen, and from a family like mine and in the time and place and context where I was. I was using a lot of my own experience and memories. But this is Mori, not me, and she lives in a world where magic is real. Jo Walton, who as editor for tor.com revisisted the Hugos 1953-2000, now has one of her own, taking home the 2012 Best Novel Award for Among Others. Other winners include Kij Johnson for her Novella The Man who Bridged the Mist (excerpt) and io9 regular Charlie Jane Anders for her novellete Six Months, Three Days. The Best Graphic Story award went to the webcomic Digger by Ursula Vernon. E Lily Yu took home the Bets New Writer award (technically not a Hugo) and was also nominated for her short story The Cartographer Wasps and the Anarchist Bees. A couple of TV shows you have heard of also got awards. Links to many of the nominated stories here.
"Even if you ignore the embarrassing ceremony and clichéd platitudes, few of these awards actually reflected genuine quality or what is happening in mainstream genre publishing today."
British Fantasy Award winner returns prize; Sam Stone hands back award after criticism of judging process. [The Guardian] "Controversy has riven the 40-year-old British Fantasy Awards, with the winner of the best novel prize handing her award back just three days after it was bestowed. But the organisation and presentation of the awards has been drawing criticism since then, culminating in Sam Stone, the winner of the best novel award – named after American writer and editor August Derleth – announcing yesterday that she is giving it back. The biggest attack on the awards was delivered by editor and anthologist Stephen Jones, who on Tuesday posted a lengthy blog decrying the organisation of the BFAs and making several allegations against awards co-ordinator and British Fantasy Society chairman David Howe."
NPR Books is asking people to vote for their ten favorite science fiction / fantasy books of all time. The list is exhaustive; the picking only ten is hard.
Before Robert Jordan passed away, he dictated the ending of his Wheel of Time" series. This was just another bump in the rocky saga of the series. [more inside]
Fans of George RR Martin's "The Song of Ice and Fire" series are eagerly awaiting "A Dance With Dragons", the next book. This anticipation has led to hostility from some fans as to Martin's work ethic and the manner in which he spends his personal time.
Locus, the Magazine of the Science Fiction & Fantasy Field, is the paper of record in the science fiction community. Every year the editors and reviewers at Locus publish a recommended reading list which includes novels, YA novels, first novels, anthologies and collections, related non-fiction, art books, and three types of shorter work (novellas, novelettes, and short stories). If you are at all interested in the current state of the SF&F genre you can't do better than Locus' yearly effort. The list for 2010 appears in the February issue. [more inside]
... history is written by the winners. That's the philosophy behind "The Last Ringbearer," a novel set during and after the end of the War of the Ring... and told from the point of view of the losers. ... In Yeskov's retelling, the wizard Gandalf is a war-monger intent on crushing the scientific and technological initiative of Mordor and its southern allies because science "destroys the harmony of the world and dries up the souls of men!"
Jeff Vandermeer discusses Amazons top 10 SF/Fantasy books of the year, which he selected in consultation with Amazon editors : Part 1, Part 2.
The annual Orbit books survey of Fantasy cover art: Fantasy Art, The Changing Fashion of Urban Fantasy Heroines, Color trends in Dragons, Title Trends and Fonts.
Inspired by the cage matches between popular characters over at Suvudu, Random House's SF/fantasy blog, Heather Zundel and friends have started a YA Fantasy version. At least 3 of the characters' authors are involved in the fight write-ups, although one author reacted differently. All I know is that I have a lot of books to check out.
War of the words - Science fiction was once driven by a faith in human ability to change the world. These days, the genre seeks to expose the illusions of everyday life. cf. near-future science fiction [1,2] & radical presentism  (via mr)
China Miéville has won his third Arthur C Clarke award for his crime/weird fiction novel The City and The City - making him the first person to win the prize three times. Somewhat emotional video of him accepting the prize, where he thanks one special crime reader in particular, his mum, who passed away before it's publication. 10 Questions about China Miéville. An A-Z of China Miéville - 1, 2. An extract from his next novel, Kraken. A Bas Lag Wiki. A discussion of the best genre crossovers. An out of season Christmas tale.
Good Show Sir - a blog of the worst science fiction and fantasy book covers from the deepest depths of second hand bookstores around the world.
SciFiGuy.ca explores the infinite wonder and beauty of the Urban fantasy book cover (youtube, bad music) (via).
Lev Grossman (wiki) has picked the six greatest fantasy novels of all time to This Weeks "Best Books...chosen by" series. Grossman blogs that each one"absolute indisputable classic" that "completely changed the game." [more inside]
Although it's commonplace nowadays to assume that J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings was the primary source of inspiration for Dave Arneson and Gary Gygax when they created the world's first tabletop roleplaying game, Dungeons & Dragons, a careful examination of the game suggests otherwise... James Maliszewski on The Books That Founded D&D. Some disagreement.
There was no way to simply say, "I read a really bad description in this book last night." I had to scan it and share it for you to understand just how bad it truly, truly was. It is the sort of bad that causes pain and must be shared with other people so you can feel better. Part 1, Part 2. This really is prose so purple that it verges into the infra-red. Some NSFW descriptive naughtiness.
Legend of the Seeker is a syndicated TV show based on Terry Goodkind's Sword of Truth novels from some of the people behind the mid-90s Hercules show and Xena: Warrior Princess. It is in a similar vein, yet now with more earnestness. The entire series is available on Hulu for your enjoyment.
Just some cool dark fantasy art by John Jude Palencar, including covers for Lovecraft, de Lint, Tolkien and other popular books.
Like others before him Benjamin Rosenbaum is making his debut short story collection, The Ant King And Other Stories, available from his publishers, Small Beer, as a free download. More than this though, he is holding a competition to find the best derivative work inspired by it. These include "translations, plays, movies, radio plays, audiobooks, flashmob happenings, horticultural installations, visual artworks, slash fanfic epics, robot operas, sequels, webcomics, ASCII art, text adventure games, roleplaying campaigns, knitting projects, handmade shoes, or anything else you feel like." [more inside]
Stephen King has described The Dark Tower as his "Jupiter." The epic series, inspired in part by Robert Browning's poem, "Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came", has spanned 22 years, 7 books and nearly 4000 pages. The first book in the series, The Gunslinger, begins with a simple, memorable declaration, "The Man in Black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed." [more inside]
Rick Cook, the author of the 5 novels in the "Wizard's Bane" series of computer-infused light fantasy from the early 90s (the first two are available, free, and legally, courtesy of the Baen Books Free Library) was in the middle of writing a sixth in Spring 2000, when he underwent emergency heart surgery. The result of that, and the meds that followed — he says in his blog — is that he has the sixth book (The Wizard Recapitalized) about 90% complete, but can't finish it, and he wants to know if he should release it anyway. Not all that much [more inside]
The His Dark Materials movie is taking shape. The award-winning children's series, considered the "anti-Narnia", is due on the screen in 2007, starring a actress found in open casting, along with Nicole Kidman (as Mrs. Coulter, for those who know the books). Unfortunately, the screenplay by Tom Stoppard has been dumped, though the new one appears to be to the author's liking. There is no official trailer yet, but there are several more or less painful fan-made ones. The series has also been made into a successful play, and a radio program. For those who haven't read it, an excerpt is here; and for those that have, try the interactive alethiometer or find out your daemon's name. Previous discussion on the debate with the Archbishop of Canterbury was here.
Fighting Fantasy Gamebooks tried to do Choose Your Own Adventure books one better with D&D-style rules. These massively single-player games, released in Britain, absorbed '80s nerds into the kind of murky, dead-serious fantasy recently parodied by Trogdor, in a decade when interactive fiction was on the rise. A bunch of the Gamebooks are now available to play online. Hang on to those healing potions.
Looking for that rare science fiction first edition? The Barry R. Levin Science Fiction & Fantasy Literature store just might have the volume you seek.
Violet Books: Antiquarian Supernatural, Fantasy & Mysterious Literatures, including the Gallery of Rare Dustwrappers, the Golden Age of Illustration Index, or the Westerns Dustwrapper Galleries, and more.
50 Most Significant Sci-Fi and Fantasy Books. Not sure what their criteria was, but this is a nice list. Lots of obvious, gotta-be-on-such-a-list choices, but also some surprises that should have people buying some books they might not have thought of before. (The URL is rather cumbersome, but that's the only one I could find).
Book-A-Minute SF/F--- Their "minute" is so spot-on a review for those books I've read that I'm off to find some books I haven't, just on this site's odd say-so.
Josh Kirby has Died Perhaps best known for his artwork on Terry Pratchett's Discworld novels, Josh was a well known science fiction and fantasy cover artist. He was 72.
Aslan gets a makeover? (NYTimes link, reg. required, sorry.) Apparently Harper-Collins and the C.S. Lewis estate see a Harry Potter-style merchandising bonanza in the Narnian Chronicles -- if they de-emphasize that pesky Christianity, that is, and write a few more Narnia books, and produce some plush toys of the Narnian characters. I feel queasy.
Jeez, these people need to get a clue. Children should be encouraged to read anything they want, and as much as they please. So what if Harry Potter books have wizards and witches in them? Even kids can tell fact from fiction...when are the adults going to figure that out?